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  • The Scriptorium

    1/9/2008

    Obama’s church: More about Africa than God?

    Filed under: — Jennifer Rast @ 5:30 pm

    Well, this is more than just a little bit spooky. What do you bet Obama won’t be grilled about his religious beliefs in the debate like the evangelical George Bush was. We can only hope someone brings this into the light and asks some questions before primaries are over.

    While some election commentators are looking carefully at the level of devotion Sen. Barack Obama has to Islam, it is the strong African-centered and race-based philosophy of the senator’s United Church of Christ that has some bloggers crying foul.

    Obama and Wright

    Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is where Obama was baptized as a Christian two decades ago, even borrowing the title for one of his books, “The Audacity of Hope,” from a sermon by his senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

    The first paragraph of the “About Us” section of the church’s website mentions the word “black” or “Africa” five times:

    We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian. … Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain “true to our native land,” the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

    Focus on the African continent continues in two of the 10-point vision of the church:

    1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
    2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
    3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
    4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
    5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
    6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
    7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
    8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
    9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
    10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

    Commented Florida blogger “Ric” in discussing vision No. 4: “Commitment to Africa? I thought Christians were to have a commitment to God alone?”

    The blogger continued: “First off just by this 10-point layout describing Barack Obama’s church, we see that on some issues they are not clear. Even though it sounds good to the reader, it still leaves one guessing and not knowing where they truly stand as a congregation.

    “Second, the church seems to place Africa and African people before God, and says nothing about other races in their community or a commitment to help the people in their community.

    Read it All

    1/2/2008

    Israel bars Jews from moving lips in prayer on Temple Mount

    Filed under: — Jennifer Rast @ 11:38 pm

    The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, and only the THIRD holiest site in Islam. Jerusalem didn’t even become important to Muslims until the 7th century when Caliph Abd el-Malik commissioned the best architects to build the Dome of the Rock on the conquered Temple Mount, after a successful invasion of the Jewish Holy Lands. His plan was based upon a Fourth Century Christian shrine on the Mount of Olives marking the site of Jesus’ Ascension. The Caliph’s new shrine was deliberately built as a political, economic, and religious counter attraction to Mecca. Medina and Mecca, the two cities holy to Islam, were under the control of a rival Caliph. Abd El-Malik sought to build up the importance of Jerusalem as an Islamic center for pilgrimage and worship. The holiest site in Judaism was only then identified with the spot where Mohammed’s horse ascended to heaven.

    There is a great deal of evidence proving that Islam never considered the Temple Mount to be a holy site until it became politically important to the Arabs, and an excuse to wage war on the Jews. Their revisionist history has been so successful that Jews aren’t even allowed to give the APPEARANCE of praying on the Temple Mount, and anything even remotely related to Judaism is banned from being taken onto the site during the limited times when Jews are even allowed to go there. It’s not uncommon to see Jews being stoned by Palestinian youths, or arrested by Wafq police who determine the site has somehow been desecrated by their presence.

    Anywhere else in the world, it would be considered totally unacceptable, and a violation of human rights, to forbid a person from praying whenever and wherever they want. The United States condemns China for their persecution of Christians (although they do little about it), and free speech laws in countries around the world would be quickly enforced if such restrictions were placed on any other religion (with the exception of Christianity, or course). Muslims would be the first to scream discrimination and Islamophobia if their right to pray five times a day were in any way hindered. Yet, the world is silent and sees absolutely no problem with religious persecution when it’s directed at Jews. Even more perplexing, a large percentage of the Jewish population sees no problem with it either. They might change their mind, though, when the Palestinians are given the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the rockets currently being fired at them from Gaza are suddenly coming at them from all sides. Or, maybe not.

    Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount in any way whatsoever, even if they only move their lips or demonstrate other “signs” of prayer on Judaism’s holiest site, ruled Avi Dichter, Israel’s public security minister.

    Dichter was responding to a recent decision by two Knesset members who said they would ascend the Temple Mount quietly – without informing the media or making any protest – and attempt to pray on the holy site.